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Curre & Llangib Howick
Saturday 28th February 2009
by Brian Lee

photos by Alun Sedgemore

Bright times for Chesnut Annie as Grey Kid takes second place

BETH ROBERTS’ Chesnut Annie made it nine point-to-point wins on the trot when landing the ladies’ open race at the Curre & Llangibby Hunt Steeplechases.

Confidently ridden by Welsh champion rider Isabel Tompsett, who was chalking-up her 12th win on this game eight-year-old mare, Chesnut Annie won easily by four lengths from Grey Kid and will attempt to make it 10 on the bounce at the Brecon & Talybont meeting on Saturday.

Another winner for Chesnut Annie and Isabel Tompsett in the Ladies Open Race

There was a close finish to the men’s open race in which SparklinSpirit, partnered by Adrian Wintle, got home by a head from Merry Storm.

Men's Open winner Sparklinspirit and Adrian Wintle jump the first fence

Bowdens Lane, bred by Penhow farmer Owen Stephens, and named after a lane near the old Penhow point-to-point course, was an impressive winner of the confined, coming home 20 lengths ahead of the pacemaking Another Chat to give leading rider David Mansell his 17th winner of the season.

Bowdens Lane and David Mansell (red cap) lead the way in the Confined Hunts Race

James Price made all the running on 33-1 rank outsider Willoughby Flyer to repeat his success of last year in the members’ race.

The number board for the first race

Owned and trained by Robin Butterworth at Horton near Badminton, Willoughby Flyer has had a lung infection and had been pulled up in his three previous races.

Winner Willoughby Flyer and James Price (left) during the early stages of the Members Race

Both divisions of the restricted race went to homebred mares. Mark Wall took the first on Tim Sage’s Mytabean and Welsh champion Rhys Hughes the second on Peter Corbett’s Upton Legend. The latter won by 20 lengths and looks sure to go on to better things. Mytabean won by a length from Diddle’Em.

Jumping the first in the first division of the Restricted Race

Rhys Hughes after his win on Upton Legend in the second division of the Restricted Race

Gareth Morgan’s Knight Of The Road, trained in Pembrokeshire by Beverley Thomas, and well ridden by Kyle Yates, was an easy winner of the first division of the open maiden coming home 25 lengths in front of Little Miss Monty partnered by Emily Farr whose mother Shan and father Ross are both former Welsh champion riders.

Milling around in the paddock before the first division of the Open Maiden Race

Beverley Thomas said: “Knight Of The Road is just awesome. He should have won last year but things didn’t go right for him.”

Setting out on the second circuit in the first division of the Open Maiden Race

Biggest cheers of the day were for Rob Hodges’ grey gelding Cloud Venture who, ridden by Rachel Reynolds, took the second division of the open maiden in a second faster than what it had taken Knight Of The Road to win the first. Racecards at a Welsh point-to-point were sold out for the second week running which surely says something about the popularity of the sport.

Next Saturday enthusiasts will be flocking to Llanfrynach for the Brecon & Talybont Hunt Steeplechases where racing takes place in the Brecon Beacons.

Some three miles south-east of Brecon, off the B4558 and two miles off the A40, this popular track usually attracts loads of entries from many parts of the country. Racing gets under way with the members’ race at 1pm but come early to find a place on the natural grandstand.

The Tredegar Farmers’ fixture on May 10 will feature for the first time in Wales a club members’ race for veteran and novice riders.Veteran riders must be aged at least 45 at the close of declaration. The ladies’ open race is the South Wales Area Feature race with £350 prize money for the first, £100 for the second and £50 for the third.

Pony racing will be held at the following point-to-points:

South Wales: Curre & Llangibby at Howick March 22, Pentyrch at Bonvilston, April 25; Llangeinor at Laleston, May 2, Countryside Alliance at Bonvilston, May 25.

West Wales: South Pembrokeshire at Lydstep, April 13; Banwen Miners at Pentreclwydau, May 4.

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